Towelhead Chronicles One Girl's Coming
of Age in America
Author Will Read from Her New Novel April 7 at Wellesley College
March 16, 2005
Mass. -- When Alicia Erian first began her novel Towelhead (Simon & Schuster, April 2005), set at the time of the first
Gulf War, the second war with Iraq hadn’t yet happened. When
a Middle East battle again tore apart the world, she threw away her
first hundred pages and started over. Suddenly, her feelings about
ethnicity, hate, love and struggle called for something more immediate
A coming of age story, in part autobiographical, Towelhead follows the life of Jasira, a 13-year-old American girl
who comes to live
with her immigrant Lebanese father, a stern, forbidding man. Jasira
finds she can’t talk to him about her mixed-up emotions as
a developing woman. Nor can she tell him what it feels like to face
school every day without any friends or to get called horrible names
like “camel jockey” and “towelhead.” The
rocky relationship between father and daughter sends her looking
for comfort in other people, sometimes for good; sometimes for
Her publisher notes, “Towelhead is, at its heart, a hope-filled
book about the power of genuine love, whether from strangers down
the street or imperfect parents. Fulfilling the promise of her
short fiction, Towelhead affirms Alicia Erian as a gifted, incisive
Erian will read from Towelhead Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 pm in
Wellesley College's Collins Cinema. The event, which is free and
open to the
public, is sponsored by the newly established Newhouse Center for
the Humanities at Wellesley. There will be a wine and cheese reception
at 6 pm in Collins Café.
Erian, who teaches at Wellesley as the college’s first Newhouse
visiting professor of creative writing, keeps in mind an important
rule for any book, regardless of its subject or message.
“The writing should entertain you,” she said. “A book
is like a shark; if it stops moving, it will die.”
Her book has already attracted wide attention. It has been named
to Barnes & Nobles “Discover Great New Writers Program” and
has been reviewed warmly by Elle magazine and Booklist. It also
has been optioned by Alan Ball, who plans to adapt Towelhead for
film directorial debut. The author also has an extensive book
tour coming up at the end of the academic year that will take
New York, California, Texas and elsewhere.
Her first book of short stories, The Brutal Language of Love (Villard/Random
House), was published in 2001. She has written fiction and non-fiction for
journals and magazines, and her screenplay adaptation of the
title story from The Brutal
Language of Love is currently under option by Eva Kolodner, producer
of the film, Boys Don't Cry.
Erian received a B.A. in English from Binghamton University and
an M.F.A. in writing from Vermont College. Her visiting professorship
at Wellesley will
allow her to share her writing skills with students there for three years.
For more information, contact the Wellesley College Office of Public Information
at 781-283-2373 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For directions and a map of the college, go to www.wellesley.edu/Welcome/welcome.html.
Photo by Linda Dubilier